Good Old Days!

Whose Good Old Days are better?

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This is one term that is frequently used in many conversations. Some use it nostalgically, some use it with heavy heart, some use it as a passing reference. It is the emotion behind it, that is important. All of us have a past as we grow old. Some have 20 years of past, some have 40 years of past and some 60 years of past! Being nostalgic about your “Good Old days” is natural! It is fun, it’s  joy, its pure nostalgia! These are your precious memories which can never be taken away! They open the door to your personal life history, they open the door to the history of the society and the nation, and to the World at that particular time. When we think about “Good Old Days”, we open a small window but how far we are able to see and enjoy, depends totally on our way of looking at things.

Those who enjoy “Good Old days” nostalgically are emotional persons, those who remember “Good Old days” with a heavy heart probably remain grooved in those times. Those who make passing reference of “Good Old days” are not very emotional about life memories. This is of course an observation and I am not commenting what is right and what is the correct way of looking at things. Nor am I passing any judgment! But what really are the “Good Old days”?  

To me “Good Old days” are bygone days. To me today’s times are my “Golden Days”! But the beauty is “Youthful days” of today become “Good Old days” may be 40 or 50 years hence. So, each of “Good Old days” from different decades have their own charm, their own scent, their own beauty! My “Good Old days” are no better or worse than someones “Good Old days”!  

Humans have different ways of looking at life, enjoying life at different age! Each decade probably changes human perception about life, their way of looking at life! In the childhood, life is simply fun and fantasy; it is a time when one leads a very protected life. The entry into adulthood brings out different emotions, exposure to different pleasures and professional studies and sometimes real bad world. Fun is a major part of this growth. Many times, it is more fun than serious things. Generally, “Good Old days” are this phase of life for everybody because they are lively, fun filled and adventurous.  

The current decade, which is Golden Period for me, is going to be “Good Old days” for my grandson Suyash in future. He is in the phase of becoming an adult. He studies hard, he enjoys hard. I am sure he has fun and he has growth pangs. For him travel from US, where he lives, to India, is an adventure. He is now old enough to understand that world is not the same in various different parts. His place of stay at Sammamish near Seattle in the US, is a serene location with lots of trees, lots of water bodies and lots of clouds and a lot of rain. So, when he travels to India, it is lots of noise, lots of people but a lot of family members.  

With modern technology proliferation, the growth of technology in both India and the US is similar and there is not a big chasm between the two places. But chasm in two eras, my “Good Old days” and my golden days is simply breath taking. In my “Good Old days”, Mumbai, where I grew, was a reasonably peaceful big city with a lot of activities. But when I moved to Pune, where I have been living for 50 years, things were drastically different. People would move about on bicycles, using horse driven carriages; whereas in Mumbai there was a fairly modern train system and a bus system. In my “Good Old days”, there were a few major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata; other places were towns or villages. Intercity travel was rarity and air travel was non existent. Those were the days of shortages and rationing of food! Eating an apple was considered luxury, the same as owning the car. But I enjoy the memories and nostalgia of “Good Old days”.  

Today Suyash is growing up in the times of plenty of everything. Plenty of money, plenty of gadgets, plenty of cars and plenty of everything in general. With this base, he is growing up with big dreams, and looking forward to even better future. In my “Good Old days”, we also had plenty of dreams and plenty of fun same as Suyash has. But probably, on the scale of 10, my dream size was 3 and Suyash’s dream size could be 7 or 8. So when Suyash becomes nostalgic 40 years hence and yearns for his “Good Old days”, can our “Good Old days” be compared? Answer is both yes and no. No, because the base level at both times are totally different, they simply cannot be compared. Yes, because the nostalgia does not depend on tangibles. So, the base simply does not matter.  

The emotional person can enjoy best of the both worlds and enjoys memories of “Good Old days”; the same person also enjoys today’s good modern, but a bit of hectic times. The person who keeps stuck in “Good Old days”, enjoys in remaining entrapped in those times but is not able to enjoy today’s times. For The less emotional person, nothing really matters.  

When I retrospect about “Good Old days”, I realize that general health and happiness in those times were not so good. Society in general did not have zest or drive as most people used to struggle to survive. My youthful age masked all such struggles, which anyway I did not understand at that time. I am quite sure the “Good Old days” are always the same in every era when intangibles are compared. But when tangibles come in picture, it will be difficult to judge which era would give more joy. I feel that my golden days are better days than “Good Old days”. To me probably, this aspect will keep on improving with time, all the time. In my “Good Old days” we used to have Kaware Ice Cream. Oh, but Baskin Robbins and CCD and Barista today…. You know what I mean! Of course I am nostalgic about Kaware Ice Cream but…… 

Jinx !

What is your destiny? Are you jinxed?

A couple of days back a new Metro line was inaugurated in Delhi’s NCR area. The occasion was graced by India’s Prime Minister, Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh and Governor of Uttar Pradesh. The line starts from NOIDA in UP and terminates within Delhi limits. The news item also said that this is the first time in more than 20 years, Chief Minister of UP has visited NOIDA. NOIDA is city of about one million population and no CM would go there, because those CM’s who visited NOIDA, lost their Chief Minister ship, immediately after the visit. So, the story spread that such visits are jinxed. In such a large city in the state, the Chief Ministers did not visit a major city due to “jinx”! This is simply unbelievable!  

On one side we are talking of Metros, Super Computers and on the other side we are talking of jinxes! Black cat crossing the path, evil eye causing havoc in lives! We are more scared of jinxes than of illnesses! Is it a way of finding someone or something to blame? In our universe there is some power which controls everything. Nobody knows anything about the power but we try to “control” it by taking action or performing some rituals. When something unpleasant happens, we call it a jinx. But when unexpected good event happens, we are not worried, we feel this happened because of my hard work. Problem is that we do not take life in stride, always try to look for easy solutions to anything unpleasant. It can be a ritual, it can be blaming the jinx.  

When we are true to ourselves, we know that chilly/lemon combination does not make the “evil” go away. Tying a black doll on the main door of our home does not force the evil to go away. The problem starts with the definition of evil. What is evil? Definition of evil is anything that happens out of turn in life, anything bad happens in life is evil. But what is bad? Is death of a parent bad? Yes of course, it is. But if the death happens at the age of say 80 plus, is it not a normal life event? Should this be treated as evil?  I don’t think so. In certain areas in Britain, death happening after the age of 80, without any serious health complications, is celebrated. There is party organized by the family which is called Golden Death Party! It is to celebrate good life lived by that person. In our culture also, after any death, lunch is arranged on a specific day, e.g. 13th day, and some sweets are served. The logic behind this is that we should bring the life back to normal routine, after the death!  

LimbuMirchi

In life when things happen out of turn, death of a young person in the family, sudden loss in business, a divorce in the family, sudden loss of an opportunity for higher studies, such things do happen. When such events occur, we feel that life has cheated us! To make sure that such events do not recur, we start following certain rituals. But does it really help? Sometimes events occur which are natural calamities, sometime due to market forces in the world; illnesses occur out of blue. By performing rituals, are you so sure that they are not going to recur? Events occur due to the reason that they are destined to happen in one’s life! We know of people who have never taken any alcohol, dying of liver cirrhosis. We know of non-smokers dying of throat or lung cancers. We have seen extremely fit athletes dying of heart failure on the field itself! This is destiny!  

The other day, I read an article about what people have done at Mandhara Devi, a famous deity near Satara, in Maharashtra. When it becomes dark people are sticking chits on trees, cursing whoever they want in writing and hoping that they will die in accident, or their houses will burn and so on! This is the reverse of the ritual. People feel that if they wish bad things for people in the mandir, their foes will really face problems! They forget that so called bad things happen as they are defined in one’s destiny and not by someone wishing bad things.  

One thing is for sure. Jinx and allied rituals are there in all cultures, world over. Human race cannot accept things happening out of turn; one interesting thing about rituals is black colour is used predominantly in rituals world over. Black Cats are supposedly bad omen but black Kohl dot on the forehead of babies is supposed to drive away the evil! 

 

In India, we see many Trucks with the famous writing on their back sides  बुरे नजरवाले तेरा मुह काला to drive away the evil! But that does not prevent some stray truck from ramming on the back side of the same truck! Let’s take things in stride and drive away bad stuff; it does not happen by way performing rituals.

BuriNazar